03x06 - Jack of All Trades

Dre: When I was growing up, I heard my parents talk about the American Dream, and it sounded pretty good... Modest home, honest job, and a Grand Canyon family vacation.

But for my generation, it changed a little bit...

Nicer home, better job, and a Hawaiian family vacation.

And for this generation after me, it's just gone insane.

The American Dream has become an actual dream, something most of us can only achieve when we're sleeping, which means as parents, all we can do is push our kids to be all they can be so they can have a chance of getting their piece of whatever their American Dream is.

We got our career tests back!

It says I'm gonna be in a position of power in a political organization!

Oh, that is amazing!

Way to go!

And I'm gonna be a member of a unionized group of skilled laborers.

Oh.

Oh.

[Clears throat] Boom!

Here you go, babe. There you go.

Now, you enjoy that.

Mm. No, you taste it first.

I'm not falling for that again.

Did you talk to Jack?

Well, he's legitimately excited about...

What?

Becoming a mechanic, a welder, or a lumberjack.

Seems like he really just wants to lose a finger.

Pops: I don't see what the problem is. Welders, mechanics, all of that...

Those are good-paying union jobs, son.

Hey, look, Pops, nobody is saying that.

All I'm saying is that I don't need a test telling my son what he's going to be for the rest of his life.

Exactly. Because it will affect his mind-set going into middle school, which will affect his mind-set going into high school, which will affect his mind-set going into college...

College?

Come on.

You're getting ahead of yourself, now.

Just a little bit.

Why don't you relax and have some of that ice cream?

Yeah, I mean, who says the boy is going to college anyway?

I mean, look at me. I didn't go. My life's pretty great.

You live off us.

And that's pretty great.

Besides, you don't need college to get a job.

Pops. We don't want him to have a job. We want him to have a career.

Why? Like your high-powered lives are so terrific?

What?

You're both too busy to pick up your own children from school.

You gotta send a drunk old man.

You drove the kids drunk?

Not that it's any of your business, but I Uber'd.

Uh... What...

The point is, I worked a nice, honest 9-to-5 factory job so that I could come home and be with my family every night.

But you never came home.

But I could have.

See, what you need to be worried about is Diane.

A person of power in a political organization?

What the hell does that even mean?

Well, it doesn't mean she's gonna be a heartless dictator or a tyrant.

She's a very sweet little girl.

She's right behind you.

Oh, God!

Okay. Okay. Look, everybody, chill.

Makes my point.

Okay?

We'll get some answers. Give me some damn ice cream.

Unh-unh, don't you eat that, baby.

Got freezer burn... and monkeypox.

[School bell rings]

I'm glad you guys came in.

I think I know what you're here to talk about.

It's not gonna be easy, but I think there's something we can do about Diane.

Wait, what? No, we're no... we're not here to talk about Diane.

Oh, this is about you missing the last two parent-teacher conferences?

Huh?

[Inhales sharply] Oh.

You want to talk about your father's drinking.

No.

Uh. You know what?

Actually, why don't you just let us lead this?

We are here to talk about Jack and his career aptitude test.

Yes. We feel that you've pigeonholed him into hard labor.

Yeah. And these tests can be wildly inaccurate.

When I was a kid, they tested me and they said I was gonna be a pediatrician.

I mean, what?!

[Laughing] That's ridiculous.

It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous.

[Clears throat]

Okay. We... we don't want our son thinking that this is the only thing that he's capable of.

Because in our house, we raise our children to believe that they can be anything.

Anything.

I know.

Jack told me you said he could be a snowman.

Prove that he can't.

Look, it sounds like you're putting too much emphasis on this test.

I mean, Jack's nine.

He's a sweet, considerate, hard-working kid.

He is.

You're raising a good person.

Aw, he's such a good person.

He is.

Yes, he... he really is.

Yeah.

Now, Diane on the other hand...

Nope. Gotta go.

B-But, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, please.

We would rather not. We're gonna leave on an up.

Thank you.

Teachers are scared.

Are you still thinking about how that test ruined your life, friend?

Nope.

Well, you should be. You really crashed and burned.

Maybe these blocks are more your speed.

Thanks!

[Laughs lightly] Um... why aren't you crying?

I'm belittling your future! The blocks spell "bum."

You are a bum.

Ruby: Diane.

Come here, sweetie.

Sit down.

[Sighs]

I've been noticing you've been a bit cruel to your brother.

Long-head or Dumb-dumb?

It's time for a little more God in your life, child.

Let us turn to the Good Book.

Psalm 145, verse 8.

"The Lord is passionate!"

"The Lord is gracious!"

[Vomits]

Oh, Lord!

Oh, Black Jesus.

Mm.

I'm telling you, your baby sister is possessed.

You think everyone is possessed.

You thought I was possessed when I was practicing my Spanish.

Yeah, well...

Grandma, Diane only threw up because she baked a "Jack Is Dumb" cake and ate the whole thing in front of him.

She maybe be greedy and mean...

And spiteful and vindictive...

And petty and a horrible travel companion... but she's not possessed.

Listen. I'm telling you.

She has a nastiness that smacks of the devil.

[Whines]

Bow and I were feeling pretty good about Jack after our meeting with Principal Green.

So I should've known to call in sick.

So what? He's good at working with his hands. Good for him.

Doesn't mean that that's what he's gonna grow up to do.

He's only nine!

He's already nine?

Late bloomer, huh?

I had already bought and sold my first company by the time I was nine.

I killed a burglar when I was nine.

[Book closes] Oh my God. So did I.

Come on.

Hey, you know what, I'm not gonna listen to any of this.

Jack is fine.

Like his principal said, "He's a good person."

Outstanding. A good person.

I love good people.

Good people are the best.

World needs more good people.

[Whispering] They keep saying "good people," Dre.

Like it's a code for something.

[Whispering] Uh-huh.

I'm gonna ball my fists up.

It may be go time.

Mr. Stephens: I surround myself with good people.

My butler, my stablemen, my fleet of maids, all good people.

Wonderfully docile. And one day, they will be our food supply.

[Both laugh]

You know what? I think they might have been just joking.

I'm gonna un-ball one of my fists.

Keep one in the chamber. [Clicks]

Why do I keep opening up to you guys?

It is strange.

Dre, you should be proud!

Craftsmanship is the cornerstone of America.

Now, I know that you like to say that slaves built this country, but they weren't our only heroes.

Oh, no, no. Paid white craftsmen served with honor right beside them.

Where's their seven-part mini-series?

Exactly. Exactly. Look.

You make something with your hands and you can say, "I built that"!

Now, that's the... That's the kind of pride that your son is gonna have every day of his life.

So you'd be cool if Connie built houses and worked on cars?

Who, him? No, no, no, no, no.

I love him.

[Laughs] Oh, God. Can you imagine?

Look at me, I'm a hand-worker. Ooh.

All right? It's like this.

Is that a hammer?

Oh! I don't know.

I don't know what they are.

I don't want that kind of life for Eustace.

I saw what manual labor did to my dad.

Back-breaking work.

Oh. What did he do?

He was a back breaker. I just said that.

No one listens to me here.

Okay, ho-hold up. You're saying it's okay for my son to work a trade, but not yours?

Why? Because your son's white?

No. Come on. That's ridiculous.

Look, if... if Connie were Asian or Indian, it would also be a tragedy because he's not living up to his potential.

But a young black child defying the odds and growing up and becoming a union carpenter?

My God. He could be on the cover of Jet magazine.

[Whispering] Why isn't your fist balled?

When I got home, it didn't take long to whip Bow up into the same frenzy I was in.

Rainbow: Well, screw them! He's the son of a doctor.

Okay, let's be real.

You didn't really think he was gonna be a doctor.

Well, not a doctor doctor.

But I mean, there's plenty other B.S. doctors.

Like a podiatrist, a chiropractor, or... I'd even take psychologist.

Okay. You know what? We gotta really push Jack.

From now on, we're no longer watching "Wheel of Fortune."

We are a "Jeopardy!" family.

Ohhh.

[Squelching]

Pops: There you go. Nice.

That's it. That's it.

Pops is teaching me how to become a plumber!

Boy got a real future.

[Whispering] Yeah. Nine-fingered future.

[Sighing] Oh, God.

Hey, Pops!

Yeah?

You told Jack that it was cool to be a plumber?

Nothing wrong with having an honest trade.

I never worked harder than when I was a plumber.

Is that right?

Ah! Ah! My back! Ah!

[Thud]

It's not my fault that Nixon extended disability to anybody who could read a poster.

Mm-hmm.

Had me working long hours so I could put food on the table.

Is that right?

My wrist! My wrist!

[Sobs] My other wrist!

My ankle's starting to swell a little.

The problem is, you two think that you white-collar people are better than us blue-collar people.

I don't think I'm better than anyone.

Well, now, that's the first time I've agreed with you.

She's worse than everybody.

Okay.

W-We've set those kids up to continue down the road that we pave.

For them, blue collar is going backwards.

And we're not crazy for wanting our son to go to college!

And grad school!

I went to grad school, okay?

And you want him to do as well as his best parent.

I... Really?

What?

Y-You choose right now to go there with that?

No, I'm just...

Okay, just hold on.

But listen, every generation is supposed to do better than the last.

You need to back up off me, first of all.

And second of all, the truth is, you're threatened.

Yeah! 'Cause you can't do nothing!

You should see your face every time a working man comes in this house.

Hey. Say, what are you working on there?

Oh.

An arc fault circuit...

Fault... Circuit...

Both: interrupter.

Yeah. Yeah, that's what I thought.

That's what I use.

Before you know it, we're gonna be a country full of YouTubing selfie-takers living in houses full of [bleep] 'cause nobody knows how to fix a damn toilet.

Yeah! Everybody thinks they're too good for those jobs now.

Entire middle class is disappearing!

[Whispering] I know one member of the middle class that doesn't seem to want to go anywhere.

Dre: Look here, Pops, I know you think you're helping Jack, but I'm gonna ask you to stay out of this one, okay?

We are going to handle this.

Uh, hold on... I-I-I... Hmm.

I'll handle this. I'm smarter.

Sure is.

Sure ain't.

I am, though.

You see, this is why people worry about us.

No one's worried about us.

Moments like this.

What?

It's bad. It's ugly.

It's petty. It causes resentment...

What?

.. contempt... affairs.

All right. Read it back to me, baby.

"I will let in the light of the Lord."

Mm-hmm.

"I will let in the light of the Lord."

Yes.

"I will let in the light... Ah! Oh! .. of the Lord."

"I will let in the light of the Lord."

Hey.

That's proof. Satan flinches at holy water.

White Zinfandel isn't holy.

Talk to me after your first divorce. [Scoffs]

Oh, look, Mom. I fixed this.

Now when the baby starts crawling, it won't slip like Diane and I did when we were babies.

Aww. That is so sweet.

Let me see.

[Thuds]

Let's work on something useful, like conjugating Latin.

Where are your dead-language flash cards?

In my backpack.

Oh!

Oh. But I think I left it at school.

Are you sure?

I-Is it behind me?

[Clears throat]

Sweetheart.

[Clears throat]

Ugh!

Okay, kids! Snack time!

Coming.


[Wind blows, voice hisses]

[Shivers] Oh.

I can see my breath.

Oh, hell, no.

It's go time, devil. Come on.

Let's dance.

Let's dance wherever you are.

So, after my discussion with Pops, my plan was to show Jack the advantages of a white-collar life.

This is the brain trust.

This is where all of the important decisions are made for the company.

Ah! You're dead!

You get to play video games?

Can I hop on?

Oh sorry, there's no room.

Yeah, this is one of those one-, two-, or four-player games.

What? Another one?

You really gotta stop buying those.

Yeah, you can play next time. By yourself.

Hey! Charlie! Come on, jump in there.

What?

This is work?

Yep. Part of the creative process.

[Laughing] Whoa.

And after this, we get to taste eight kinds of whitecheddar-cheese popcorn.

Eight?! I've only tried four!

So far, so good.

Okay. Okay.

You need proof something's not right with that girl?

Look at this.

[Suspenseful music plays]

Uh, grandma?

Why do you have a video camera pointed at your bed?

Don't you turn this back on me.

Dre: Mm-hmm. Good.

Which popcorn do you like the best?

The longer you take to answer, the more important your answer seems.

I think it's this one.

Okay, boom!

You just did market research.

You've got the instincts, son.

This could be your job.

Pretty cool.

Yeah.

Ah!

[Shouting]

What do we do?

Connie, stay back! Josh!

Not like this, God.

Not like the gray-eyed Rasta woman said, Lord.

Josh, throw your body on it!

Okay! Okay!

There's too much water!

I got it.

Abandon building!

[Wrench squeaks]

Oh, God.

Ah.

That was awesome!

You have saved this office, sir.

We are gonna rename this break room after you. What is your name?

Ignacio.

I changed my mind.

Woman: Ignacio, can you help me on two?

We've got someone stuck in the elevator.

Copy. Ignacio on the move.

Dad, can I go with Ignacio?

Why? All he did was stop a stupid leak.

I could have did that.

You pushed me in front of you to protect your Gucci low-tops.

[Sighs]

Fine, go with Ignacio.

Thanks!

Well, Pops, you won.

Jack took one look at what I did for a living and decided to spend the afternoon with a stranger doing maintenance work on the He-VAC It's H-VAC.

I said you won, Pops. You don't have to rub my face in it.

All right, look, you can't blame the boy for admiring a man with a job.

I have a job.

Not a real job.

Yes, I do.

Why is it that you can never see that?

A real job is something you can point to at the end of the day.

Like that church your Mama goes to.

Mm-hmm.

I piped that church.

The banks over there on Wilshire.

A lot of that is my work.

Yes. Brutal work, Pops.

You came home with busted knuckles, exhausted, grumpy.

I came home grumpy 'cause I came home to your Mama.

I loved my work.

And I love my work, too.

Those banks you're talking about...

Those billboards on top of them.

Those are my ad campaigns.

You mean the one with the dog wearing tennis shoes?

How the hell is that work?

That's creativity, imagination, hard market research telling me that 70% of people like seeing animals doing people stuff.

Well, I don't.

Pops, why is it that you can never give it up to me for anything?

I gave it up for you when I used my blue collar to send your black ass to college.

And now I'm supposed to be happy that you used that damn degree to become a sellout?

I'm a sell-out because I've succeeded?

You're a sell-out because you turned your back on where you come from, looking down on me and wasting your whole life worrying about what white people think.

Pops.

I've never looked down on you.

I've been grateful for everything that you've ever given me, but your life isn't the life that I see for my son.

Yeah, well, your life damn sure ain't the life I saw for my son either.

A grown man dressing up dogs for a living?

How's that supposed to make sense?

It makes sense!

Nobody wants to buy insurance from a naked dog!

The numbers show that!

[Ruby chanting]

Are you hearing what I'm hearing?

[Chanting continues]

Devil, come out!

Ow!

Grandma!

What? What?!

What?!

Diane's not possessed!

We were just messing with you.

Wait a minute. What?

She didn't really kill a bird.

"I will let in the light of the Lord."

"I will let in the light..."

Oh!

And Diane didn't make the candles go out.

They were remote-controlled.

Snack time!

Coming.

[Beeps]

[Wind gusts]

And I had dry ice in my mouth.

I can no longer taste salt, but it was worth it.

How do you explain the video?

That was just a coincidence. Diane sleepwalks.

I always find her in my room when I wake up from my night terrors.

Why does no child in this family sleep soundly?

All right, very good.

You all had a nice laugh at my need to expel Satan.

But I still don't understand how you did this.

I didn't do that.

Zoey: Me, either.

[Light shatters]

[All screaming]

Come on. Latin is so easy.

Agricola.

Farmer.

Agricola.

Can I just have a spanking?

What?! No.

Jack, come on. Latin is not punishment.

If you learn Latin, it'll help you become any kind of doctor you wanna be.

What if I wanna be Dr Pepper?

Okay. You know what?

This seems like a natural stopping point.

Thanks!

Before you go though, Agricola.

Thanks!

Bow, is there something wrong with me?

[Laughing] Oh, come on, Dre. You're throwing softballs, baby.

[Sighs]

Am I crazy because I don't want Jack to be a plumber? Oh.

Oh.

It's not my fault society looks down on people with blue collar jobs. Hell, I didn't make the rules.

No, I get it. I do.

It's part of the reason I became a doctor.

Seriously, being a doctor is bulletproof.

You can call me what you want, but you gotta put "doctor" first.

Yeah.

If I weren't an SVP, I'd just be a black guy in the office.

You know, without these titles, you walk out into the world as a black man and people look down on you.

And I don't want anybody looking down on my son.

I agree. [Sighs] I do... with everything except for the part where you equate what you do with what I do.

This is why people really, really worry about us.

Oh, no one's worried.

It's because of you.

Oh, me?

Yes.

It's me?

Oh, very much so.

Ohhh. Yes, you, Dr. Johnson.

Oh, thank you so much.

Aw. Look at him.

Oh, Dre.

Hm?

This is our baggage, not the kids'.

I mean, you know, when I think about it, our parents didn't even care if we were happy 'cause they were so busy trying to make sure that we survived.

Mm-hmm.

And now we're in a place where we get to focus on raising happy kids who can be whatever they wanna be.

And that's how I figured out I needed to let Jack live his own American Dream.

Who knows?

Maybe he'll turn out to be a wildly successful mogul who gives all the credit to his wise and handsome father.

Or not.

All that matters is that he keeps that smile on his face.

And I'm not gonna be mad at that.

Can't believe you are actually interested in my work.

I said I'd come. I never said I was interested.

Hey, guys. I'd like to introduce you to my dad, Earl Johnson.

Oh, hey. I'm Leslie Stevens.

It's nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you.

Wow. Dre, this is exciting.

I had no idea that you knew your father.

[Mumbles] I mean, what are the odds?

Literally. I mean, it's gotta be, statistically speaking, close to zero.

Hey. I really wish we could chat, but we have lunch at the country club.

Love to invite you... can't... But I'd love to.

You know they hate you, right?

Never knew how much 'til right now. Hm.